Buckeye with raggedy feathers & spurs!

Louise Waffles

Feb 1, 2017
I have a buckeye hen named Julie Ruin who is just over a year and a half old. I barely saw her through the end of summer and most of fall as I was recovering from injuries and not able to care for my birds myself.
Julie Ruin is not preening her feathers. They look all scraggly. And she has spurs. I have other buckeye hens, they all look great, and none of them have spurs. She's been inside for a few days, and as far as I know she isn't laying. Not many of my hens are in this cold though. She acts normally, color of comb and wattles and face are fine. No sign of lice or mites, no visible worms in poo. I was out of commission for several months, so I'm really not sure when this happened. Any ideas?


Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
A hens with spurs isn't all that rare. I have one hen with inch long spurs, and another with one inch-long spur on one leg. (Now that's weird.)

Your noticing her spurs is simply a coincidence to her ratty appearance. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Her frowziness is most likely due to her not having molted yet. Granted, most chickens are done with their molts by now, but there are always a few that insist on molting to their own timetable.

I have two of those right now. They seem to be very, very sorry they waited until the coldest part of winter to start losing all their feathers. I have noticed, though, those that do wait until cold weather hits to begin molt, generally waste no time in completing it.

Rusty Rooster MAC

In the Brooder
Jan 1, 2018
Additionally to what Azygous mentioned; if you dont have a rooster in your flock, the boss hen might "assume" the role of a rooster. She might even start to crow, grow spurs. It doesnt happen all the time, but it's possible.
However if they change sex, you'll see them trying mate with other hens and egg laying ceases altogether.
I had a Black Australorp hen change sex and I culled it. I currently have a Barred Rock hen that crows and her spurs are about 1 inch long. Just as long as she continues to lay eggs, she's a keeper.
I wish you the best for a quick recovery.

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